Preparing for your puppy - What do I need?

Feeding - Your puppy has been fed Blue Buffalo puppy formula. We will send home a small baggie of food with you so that you can transition your puppy to a new puppy food, or you can continue to keep them on Blue Buffalo (we do not use grain free). When transitioning your puppy to a new food you will want to mix a little of the new food in with their current food & gradually increase the amount of the new food until the Blue Buffalo is gone. This is a slow transition process but it will help keep your new puppy’s stomach from getting upset.

Crate - If you are planning on crate training your puppy (which we highly suggest) you will want to purchase a crate. Make sure you purchase a crate small enough for them to turn around, stand up, and lay down. If your crate is too big your puppy will be more apt to go potty in their crate. We suggest to not add any bedding or blankets for the first few weeks. This is a precaution so your puppy doesn’t chew, shred, and ingest any material that could make them sick. Many wire crates come with a divider so the crate will allow more space as your puppy grows.

Toys - It’s very important your puppy has lots of toy options. Toys not only provide fun time for your pup, they can also provide mental stimulation for him/her. You can google many different puzzle toys. There are many different options & even puzzle toys you can purchase to feed your puppy from so they have to “work for their meal”. Mental stimulation is just as important as physical stimulation for any dog.

Collar & Leash
Food & Water Bowls
Treats for Training
Groom Supplies
Identification Tag

Potty Training, HELP!

1.       The key to success is simple: TIMING IS EVERYTHING

2.       Take your pup outside immediately after eating, playing, or napping (roughly every 2 hours). Keeping a rigid schedule will prevent him from making mistakes in the house

3.       Its always a good idea to put a command word to taking your dog out. You can say “go potty”, “take a break”, “go to the bathroom”, etc. It doesn’t matter what you say, just that you put a command to it. This will help you in the future if you need your pup to potty on command (say at a rest area on a long trip). In the beginning make sure you say your phrase as your pup is “doing his business”. Eventually, whenever you say your phrase your dog will eliminate on cue.

4.       Much like a little boy who dances up & down when he needs to go to the bathroom, your puppy’s behavior will let you know that he needs to go outside. If he whines, paces, or smells in a circle, grab your leash & get out the door!!

5.       Mistakes will happen! If you catch your pup eliminating in the house (and he will) correct him with a firm, gentle “NO” and immediately take him outside. If you do not catch your pup “in the act” of eliminating, just clean up the mess and keep a closer eye on your pup. You can not discipline them if you do not catch them in the act, they will not know what they are getting in trouble for.

To successfully house train your puppy, you need to know how long she can hold it between potty breaks. A puppy can usually hold her urine and feces for as many hours as her age in months plus one, during the day, and 1½ times that length overnight.

Take your puppy’s age in months, add one, and that is how many hours she can hold for during the day. Multiply that number by 1½ and that is how many hours she can hold for overnight.

Daytime Holding Limit - age in months + 1 hour

Example: 3 month puppy can hold for 4 hours during the day

Overnight Holding Limit - 1½ times the Daytime Holding Limit

Example: 3 month puppy can hold for 1½ x 4 = 6 hours overnight

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and every puppy moves at his own pace when learning potty training. Some figure out housebreaking in one day, others take months. You can make the training go smoothly with consistency; allowing frequent trips outside (with plenty of praise – praise the moment your pup finishes up, if you praise too soon you could get him over excited and he will stop to come play with you).

Always feed & water your pup at the same time every day. If he eats at regular intervals, he will relieve himself at regular intervals too.

Even if you are in a hurry, do not bring the puppy back inside as soon as he does his business. If you do, he will learn that once he eliminates, the fun walk is over and he will start holding it for longer periods of time.

Remember if you find that your dog eliminated in the house when you were not looking, do not punish him. Only punish and reward your pup for the bad and the good acts he preforms while you are watching.

How do I crate train my puppy?

Dogs LIKE crates!!!

They mimic the close quarters of a wolf’s den, so never think that crating your dog is cruel or unusual. It is what the pros do! Here is how crate training simplifies house breaking, and gives the pup a much-needed room of his own!

Crating your dog several times a day is an excellent way to housebreak him. This is because dogs will try not to soil their “home”

You can cover your crate with a sheet (do not use a blanket or towel as your pup may over heat). This will help to mimic a den atmosphere

Use the crate for naps, nighttime, and quite-time breaks for your pup to unwind from family chaos

Buy a well-ventilated crate, one large enough for him to stand up, lie down, and turn around. If the pup as too much room in his crate you may find him starting to eliminate in the crate. If you have a large dog you can purchase a crate with a divider so you can make it small while he is still growing.

Every time you take your pup out of the crate go outside immediately so he can eliminate.

Never leave a puppy in a crate all day; he needs several bathroom breaks and play and feeding times. Even though he won’t want to soil his sleeping area, if he is in there for extremely long stretches, he just might (he can’t help it). And if he does eliminate in his crate it is because his owner has neglected his responsibility, not because the pup has misbehaved.

Never use the crate as punishment. It should always be a haven for your pup, not a jail cell.

My puppy hasn’t had all her shots, but I want to take her places. Can I?

The short answer to this is YES!!! Just be careful the areas you expose your puppy to prior to them having all their shots from your veterinarian.

We encourage you to take your puppy as many places as possible as long as you know there will be no un-vetted doggies. Take your puppy with you every where you can while they are still young. This will help you socialize your pup & have a dog that is balances. You DO NOT want your puppy meeting or playing with any dog/puppy that isn’t up to date on their shots (this is to ensure your puppy is as healthy as possible). We do not suggest your local dog parks, pet stores, doggie daycare, any boarding facility, etc. The reason these locations are a big no-no is because there is a high chance there are dogs there that are either not vetted or behind on their vaccinations.

Dogs are allowed in many different stores that you may not be aware. Here is a currently list of stores that allow dogs (please verify with your county/state.
Lowes Urban Outfitter
Home Depot Anthropologie
Pottery Barn Free People
Macy’s Foot Locker
Bass Pro Shop Bebe
Barnes & Noble Nordstrom
LUSH Cosmetics Old Navy
Restoration Hardware Saks Fifth Avenue
Gap Tractor Supply Co.

How do I properly Handle & Socialize my puppy?

We want our pet dogs to be comfortable around dogs and people, and to be relaxed about handling and grooming, so that these things are not scary or unpleasant. Scared dogs bite, and scared dogs live a very stressful life, so please do not let your puppy grow up to be a scared dog!

The time to get your puppy used to all of these things is now – after he is 3 months old it will be much harder to get him to relax about things he might find scary. Do the handling activities listed below, making sure that he is introduced to new experiences gradually, and that he gets lots of praise and treats.

  • Gently clean inside his ears with ear cleaner and gauze, tissue or cotton balls.

  • Brush his coat – at first just a few strokes at a time. If he tries to chew the brush then keep his mouth busy with a toy or a Kong filled with peanut butter while you brush him

  • Get him used to having his mouth opened and examined by you, and pretend you are giving him a pill by touching the back of his tongue with your finger

  • Fiddle with his paws and nails, and then gradually introduce him to nail trims – at first clipping just one or two nails at a time. Make sure you know how to avoid cutting his nails too short – it will hurt him quite a bit if you cut the vein!

  • Get him used to baths by putting him in the tub for treats: first with no water at all, then with a little puddle to play in. Eventually get him used to running water, being wet, and finally being shampooed and rinsed.

  • Have lots of strangers pet and handle your puppy while you give him treats. Keep it a positive experience for your pup. If he is tired, or feeling shy, limit the amount of petting but keep giving him awesome treats while in the presence of the strangers. When he is happy to see someone, allow more handling.

  • Make sure your puppy meets men and women of all ages, children, and people of various appearances & ethnicity. Always make sure your pup is comfortable, and that he gets lots of praise and treats with each of these experiences.

  • Expose your pup to whatever you want him to be comfortable with as an adult: car rides, busy sidewalks, noisy schoolyards, rowdy crowds, parties, other animals, sport games, traffic, elevator rides, stairwells, noisy appliances, etc.

How much daily social time does my puppy need?
Attention, Exercise, and Mental Stimulation

Puppies need social interaction, physical exercise, and mental stimulation – just like children do – in order to grow up to be healthy and well adjusted. When these needs are not met, many behavior problems can develop.


A good rule of thumb is that a puppy should spend at least half his waking hours each day interacting with other dogs and people. Like humans, most dogs enjoy a mix of old friends and new encounter – so make sure your pup meets at least one new dog or person each day. While puppies do need to learn to spend time alone, too much isolation will make them antisocial, anxious, or depressed. Allowing your puppy regular access to his familiar doggie buddies as well as the chance to meet new dogs will increase the chances of him being socially content and well adjusted.

Physical Exercise & Mental Simulation

                Your puppy’s brain and body BOTH need lots of exercise. Swimming, playing tug & fetch, and playing with other dogs are good brain and body work-outs. Walks on leash are not always physically exerting, but they do provide a lot of mental stimulation: all the outdoor smells, sights, and sounds are very interesting! Working on obedience skills requires lots of doggy concentration, and your puppy will love the mental challenge of figuring out new things. Make sure you exercise your puppy’s brain and body EVERY DAY!

Socialize your puppy: The Essentials!

From 4 weeks to 4 months of age your pup goes through a socialization period that permanently shapes his future personality and how he will react to things in his environment as an adult. Gently exposing him to a wide variety of people, places, and situations now makes a huge permanent difference. Proper socialization can prevent a dog from always being fearful of children, riding in cars, vacuum cleaners, etc.

What you should know

1.       Chewing, barking, whimpering, jumping on people, and being endlessly curious about everything are normal puppy behaviors. Abnormal behaviors include being fearful or easily startled, constant crying or yelping, biting to guard food or toys, and extreme nervousness or destructive behavior. These can be serious problems and may require professional help.

2.       Remember that “out of sight” usually means “into trouble”. Pay attention to what your puppy is doing and how he interacts with his environment. Keep things positive, interesting, and stimulating. Extended periods of boredom can lead to problems.

3.       Puppies use their mouths to explore their environments. This can mean playing rough with other puppies which is often fine (Dogs let each other know when they’ve had enough). Still, monitor your puppy to ensure he isn’t becoming aggressive or bullying. See that he has enough toys of his own to keep him busy.

4.       Kids are often scared and overexcited around dogs. Help them to encounter yours in a gentle way that gives both child and dog a happy experience. A puppy’s early experiences with children are formative and therefore must be handled with patience and care.

5.       Puppies exposed to many people, dogs, places, sounds, and situations gain confidence, happiness, and trust. They should meet people in your home and in unfamiliar places. Let the encounters be diverse: tall-and short people, women pushing strollers, teenagers with backpacks, people in wheelchairs, people wearing hats, etc.

6.       Your dog takes his cues from you. When introducing him to a new person or place, be calm and confident, and address the pup in a soothing, authoritative voice. This will reassure him that all is well and help him build confidence as he matures. 

Your Puppy’s Development: What you need to know!

8-12 weeks

Physical Development

Your puppy will be getting his act together physically – he’s still quite roly-poly but learning to coordinate his growing body well enough for playful jumping & tumbling. Towards his 12th week, he’ll start shedding puppy teeth as permanent teeth emerge. By his 12th week his bladder control is improving.

Behavior – Changes & Challenges

As your puppy shifts his dependence to you as his leader, you’ll become the center of his world. He’ll probably like to lie down on top of or beside your feet.
He’s very curious, has a short attention span, and is easily distracted.

Although he had little sense of fear in earlier weeks, at some point between 7-9 weeks he may suddenly become cautious of anything new in his environment. This “fear period” is NORMAL! He may be fearful of abrupt movement or loud sounds. Try to prevent undue trauma during this phase.

Much as a toddler explores with hands and fingers, young puppies like to investigate things using their mouths. Combine this with the increasing urge to chew as permanent teeth start to come in, and you have one mouthy puppy. Be prepared for this by providing him with lots of safe, chewable toys.

Remember that any behavior you all now will likely follow him into adulthood.

Form good habits early & be consistent.

Health & Nutrition Reminders

Your puppy’s immune system is not fully developed until he’s about 12 weeks old. To protect him from several serious diseases, it’s crucial to keep up with his vaccine schedule (his “puppy shots”) as recommended by your vet. It’s also very important to keep him away from other dogs that have not completed their shots as well as areas where other dogs may have soiled the ground until he is at least 12 weeks old.

Do not fee him “people food” bud do feed him 3 to 4 small meals a day with a high-quality puppy food that has the nutrients his growing body needs.

Training Tips for this Stage

Although your puppy has a very short attention span, you can gently start developing a few basics behaviors such as wearing a collar, following on a leash, and coming when called. Keep each session very short, about 3 minutes with the emphasis on fun, using plenty of praise & treats (you can also use his meal time for short training sessions using his kibble as a reward).

Not until your puppy is about 12 weeks can he gain some control over his bladder & bowels. Right now be sure to take him out frequently – after every time he eats, drinks, wakes up from a nap, or after play time, and at least every hour in between. When you are not able to monitor your puppy, you should provide him with a safe, confined space, including a place for him to sleep (crate) and a separate potty area.

12-16 weeks

Physical Development

Your puppy’s senses and motor skills are well developed now. He still needs to sleep a lot, but he’s full of energy when he’s awake. His bladder & bowel control are continuing to improve.

His adult teeth are still coming in. Since sometimes puppy teeth don’t fall out as they should you should have your vet check his teeth on your next visit.

Behavior – Changes & Challenges

Your pup is very inquisitive and interested in exploring the world around him. Right now, his brain is geared toward soaking in everything it can. This coincides with a crucial phase in his development. He is in what’s called the critical socialization period. Through 4 months of age is the single most important period influencing how your dog will behave as an adult! Now is when the foundation is laid for the rest of his life in terms of his attitude toward you, other humans, and other dogs.

It’s extremely important for your pup to have good experiences NOW! Introduce him to ALL kinds of people, places, and dogs he may encounter during his life.

Luckily with his immune system finally matured, it’s now safe to take him to a wide variety of public places. It’s also important for him to play with other dogs as much as possible. Play with other dogs ensures that your pup will be dog-friendly as an adult and teaches him basic, important rules of inter-canine behavior. Be cautious introducing your puppy to other dogs, not all dogs are dog friendly. Monitor all interactions closely to ensure only positive play time with other dogs.

Keep in Mind, this is the crucial time to lay the foundation for a lifelong loving, positive relationship with your dog. Take time and have fun with your puppy.

Health & Nutrition Reminders

Talk to your vet about starting your puppy on a heartworm and flea prevention.

You can also reduce the number of daily feedings.

Training Tips for this stage

Housetraining can begin in earnest. Take your puppy out frequently and praise him lavishly every time he potties outside. Do not get lazy and let your puppy roam the house unsupervised. Accidents in your home are NOT a puppy’s purposeful misbehavior; they are an indication that you are not keeping tabs on him. The goal is to get your puppy to potty outside BEFORE the accident occurs. If an accident occurs while you are not looking (and it will), do not punish him!!! He will not understand why he is being punished. Frequent outings, persistence, and watchfulness, and lots of praise are the keys to quicker housetraining.

Although your puppy is rambunctious and easily distracted right now, don’t get tough in training him. He’s still sensitive emotionally and psychologically. Fears can occur easily and inhibit learning.

To nurture the bond with your puppy, try hand feeding him! Feed him kibble bit by bit. Play a game – back away, then give him food when he comes to you.

You can also begin basic grooming. Praise him while you gently brush him, handle his mouth, paws, ears, feet, and trimming his nails.

4 to 6 months

Physical Development

This is a period of major growth for your puppy and his high-spirited bursts of activity likely to feature much clumsiness. Combine all this with a still relatively short attention span, and you have one rambunctious pup on your hands.

Behavior – Changes & Challenges

Around 4 months your puppy will go through an “avoidance period” similar to the fear period he experienced at 7 to 9 weeks. During this phase he will probably be hesitant about doing new things and suspicious of new situations and places. If he tends to be on the she side, now is a time to ease up and be sure to keep things fun. Never push him or punish him for his anxiety. If his usual demeanor is especially bold, this might be a time where he simply backs off a little and looks to you for support; in that case it can be an opportunity where he is especially receptive to training and you can encourage his responsiveness to you.

Keep in Mind, your pup is especially prone to anxiety at this age. Calmly explore new situations with him, but do not push him or punish him if he is reluctant.

Health & Nutrition Reminders

Have your vet explain to you how to recognize a healthy weight for your pup – with large breed especially, excess weight in puppyhood could predispose him to hip dysplasia.

Discuss the appropriateness of spaying/neutering with your vet and breeder. There is data that now shows spaying and neutering too early can contribute to future health issues.

Training Tips for this stage

                Continue socialization to a wide variety of people, other animals, places, sounds, and sights.

Housetraining may deteriorate over times, especially if you start taking it for granted. Remember the times when your pup is especially likely to have to go potty – after eating, drinking, playing, or waking from a nap.

Keep working on teaching him basic manners – walking nicely on a loose leash, come to you when called, and sit or lie down on command – always keeping it fun by using lots of treats and praise. Sessions should still be short, no more than 15 minutes, but you have can several sessions throughout the day.

Remember that habits your puppy learns now will persist when he’s much bigger. You might not mind him jumping up on you now, but it might be less desirable when his paws hit your chest. Repetition is the key!

6 to 9 months

Physical Development

This is another period of major growth and your pup is probably also starting to feel the effects of increasing hormones to his body. Your raucous adolescent is feeling vigorous and active. Getting enough exercise during the day is VERY important.

Behavior – Changes & Challenges

With all those surging hormones, your pup may suddenly seem to ignore your more or challenge your leadership. Especially in males there may be early expressions of aggressive or dominate behavior. Be firm about the rules you have already established.

This intensity of activity may include a new burst of interest in chewing, so keep providing a variety of safe chew toys at all times.

Keep in Mind, raising your dog through this energetic “teenage” stage can be a challenge, but keep giving him loving attention and the guidance he needs and you will both come through it gracefully.

Health & Nutrition Reminders

Although you can now reduce the number of feedings to 2 times a day keep feeding a quality puppy food during this phase of rapid growth

                Remember to keep a monthly schedule for his heartworm & flea/tick prevention

Training Tips for this stage

During your puppy’s adolescence it’s important to keep training basic commands. Remember helping your puppy keep good manners is up to you! One key factor to remember is your puppy will be much easier to live with if he gets daily balanced mental & physical exercise.             

To help reinforce good manners and prevent your teenager from getting into destructive mischief, keep your pup with you as much as possible when you are home. You might try having him on a leash while you are in the house and teach him to lie down beside you. It may take him a while to settle down, but with patience he will.

There will be times during this stage that you may want to “get away” from your puppy. This is perfectly normal and you should not feel guilty about this. As long as your puppy has met his quota of mental & physical exercise for the day it is ok to put him in his crate to give you both a break from one another.

9 to 12 months

Physical Development

Although your canine friend will still seem a puppy at heart, most breeds will attain adult size by 12 months of age. Some large and giant breeds may not reach adult size and weight for another 6 months.

Most males will start to lift their leg to urinate by 12 months if they haven’t been neutered yet. Males will experience a lifetime-high peak of hormones. Some will go through a temporary period of mounting.

Behavior – Changes & Challenges

Stresses in your pup’s routine can cause setbacks or relapse in housetraining and other manners. Go back to reinforcing the basics if necessary, and keep up with the praise & positive attitude.

For some dogs, signs of separation anxiety can develop or intensify during this time. To help nip this problem in the bud, avoid making a big deal of your comings and goings in the home. If your dog seems stressed when you are about to leave him, try helping him adjust with numerous “practice departures” where you pretend to go away but calmly return within a few minutes.

Keep in mind, some dogs at this age may occasionally show defiance by challenging your leadership. It is a natural part of their development. If this happens, be calm and firm and insist on good manners.

Health and Nutrition Reminders

Keep feeding your pup twice a day, and keep feeding puppy food until your puppy reaches 1 year of age.

Remember your veterinarian’s tips on how to tell that your pup isn’t becoming overweight. If your pup is getting a little too pudgy, cut back on his portion size a bit.

Check with your vet and make a note ahead in your calendar of when your pup will be due for his annual vaccines, parasite check, as well as heartworm and flea/tick prevention.

Training Tips for this age

                Keep using praise and periodic treats to reinforce commands and good manners.

Consider preparing your pup for the Canine Good Citizen test. CGC certification is a great goal to aim for as you continue to train and socialize your pup. This low-stress test is offered in many communities and simply requires that your dog demonstrate a few specific aspects of basic good manners in public and around other people. It’s a fun accomplishment you will both be proud of.